Visions of a Secretary General

Dag Hammarskjöld and the United Nations 1953-1961

Duration 56 mins
Production Year 2008
Language Versions Avaiable Original English version
Script & Director Stig Holmqvist
Producer Göran Gunér, Athenafilm
Narrator Serena Möller
Ironically, the big powers in the world, had in 1953 selected Mr Hammarskjöld, a quiet Swedish diplomat, to succeed Trygve Lie of Norway, because they believed he would be content to be the efficent administrator and avoid a politically controversial role.

By the force of circumstances and his own personality he was able to greatly extend the influence of United Nations and the prestige of the Secretary General.
The Cold War and United States willingness to relinquish imortant policy initiatives to the United Nations put Mr Hammarskjöld in a strategic position.

In 1956, the Hungary and Suez crises projected Hammarskjöld into the centre of the world political stage. The British and the French, who had proposed Mr Hammarskjöld, were unprepared for rhe new political role he had assumed. Under pressure from United Nations and United States they and the Israelis withdrew their forces from Egypt.

Hammarskjöld scored a number of successes but he also suffered disappointments. In 1958 the Soviet Union began attacking decisions made by the Secretary General, criticising Hammarskjöld for independent action. He dies in an aircrash in 1961. The same year he was posthumously awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Newly recorded interviews and unique archive material creates a good picture of the Cold War and what has been described as “ the most impossible job in the world” the one as Secretary General of United Nations.